Monday, June 6, 2011

The Mexican cornfield volcano

Photo: Useful facts

In February 1943, Dionisio Polido noticed a smoking hole in the cornfield he was plowing. He reported the incident, and returning with local officials, found a great hole belching black smoke. Explosions began that night.

According to the Robinson Library, the rising cone grew to a thousand feet high within weeks. A vent opened and the cone spewed out smoke and ash, which piled up thick around it.

The new crater then began to throw up lava that flowed rapidly toward the town. By July of 1944, Paricutin had been engulfed and nearby towns were threatened. For several years, the volcano continued to toss up random bombs of lava, ash, smoke and showers of sparks.

Although nobody died from the eruption itself, three lives were lost to associated lightning strikes. The volcano quieted in 1952.

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